eglantiere: (collar)
it's still snowing outside, relentlessly and softly; i find it endlessly comforting, while we're cocooned inside, safe as houses and cuddling on a whim. most of the day was spent in bed, rewatching old movies and finishing up olivier salad. (well, i've also passed the fourth quiz in my calculus course, derivatives! 6/6 on the first try, either i get smarter or things are starting to coalesce).

meanwhile, [community profile] snowflake_challenge time! in your own space, create a list of at least three fannish things you'd love to receive, something you've wanted but were afraid to ask for - a fannish wish-list of sorts. leave a comment in this post saying you did it. include a link to your wish-list if you feel comfortable doing so. maybe someone will grant a wish. check out other people's posts. maybe you will grant a wish. if any wishes are granted, we'd love it if you link them to this post.

- more goblin emperor fics!this year's yuletide brought a great harvest of them, but apparently my heart's desire is hurt/comfort with maia being in a center, and maia/csethiro as the main relationship with others being adjascent to it (a poly relationship, a poly v relationship, whatever, but csethiro must be there, for me). outsider povs, maia's household doting on him, political intrigues, whatever. my heart is still not sated, and it's been a whole book.

- i'm always excited and humbled by any kind of related works for my fics - fanart (oh my), or podfics, or remixes (ahhh i want), or anything. i don't think it's unusual ^___^

- i really want baahubali to happen as a fandom. [ profile] avani wrote me a gorgeous drabble for yule madness, but i want moooore and more and more. and more.

also, dearest [ profile] hamsterwoman, as promised to you and inspired by you, 2015 reading roundup! i've tried to at least shortly review everything i read this year (here or on goodreads)), so it's something more of an attempt of a summary. not a bad reading year, all things considered, although a bit lackluster one.

the first book you read in 2015:
aldanov's портреты (portraits), a series of historical sketches ranging from napoleonic times to wwi and just before wwii. i find aldanov endlessly fascinating - he blends large and small history well, and he's sympathetic and sarcastic at once, and he gets his subjects without redeeming them.

the last book you finished in 2015:
the cygnet and the firebird, patricia mckillip.

the first book you will finish (or did finish!) in 2016:
лестница якова by ludmila ulitskaya, which so far reads as any other ludmila ulitskaya ever:
family history, intertwining tragedies of several generations, precise and not quite unkind portraits, the many faces of suffering and joy.

how many books read in 2015?
105! last one finished literally three hours before the clock on 31st.

fiction/non-fiction ratio?
96 to 9. eight psychotherapy books and one aforementioned aldanov. i need to step it up, here.

male/female authors?
44 female authors to 13 male ones. if we discount psychotherapy textbooks, the only new male author i've read this year is garth nix, the rest is all either familiar faces (dumas, gladstone, ilona andrews' husband) or rereads (pratchett, davidson, dick francis, etc.)

and this year there's finally an even ratio: 71 female protagonists to 72 male ones (with overlap for books like historical romance novels where pov usually shifts).

i didn't make any conscious choices wrt protagonists, but i did make - if inarticulated - choices wrt authors: on the whole, if i'll go looking for new books to read, i'd need male-written books to be heavily and specifically recced, but i can pick up a female-written book on a cover or summary or whatnot.

also shoutout to [ profile] fem_books, an awesome russian-language community for female authors. i haven't picked a lot there, because it skews towards nonfiction or mainstream fiction, but just seeing the breadth and scope of female-written world was gratifying and lovely. i'm hoarding these recs for a calmer years.

most books read by one author this year?
jo beverley wins with her company of rogues - 13 books! arranged marriages of all kinds and for all tastes, and it was a great stretch of comfort.

then dick francis (i was on a comforting reread spree, 9), then terry pratchett (ditto, 7).

favorite books read?
aud torvingen series by nicola griffith, lesbian trash noir that turned out one of the best and complicated character studies of the year.

true pretenses by rose lerner, the romance novel written just for me. that's my platonic ideal of how these books should be.

hostage, the second book in change series. poly relationships, intrigue and adventures, found families, hope in the middle of post-apocalyptic desert, and the dungeon torture sequence of my heaaaaaaaaart. these books are my delight, and i can't wait for the triquel.

best books you read in 2015?
aud torvingen again. alisa ganieva's праздничная гора (the mountain and the wall), the only book ever to speak in the language of my homeworld. nancy mcwilliams' psychoanalitic case formulation, one of the most useful psychotherapy books i've ever had a privilege to come across.

least favorite?
hahaha! the raven boys by maggie stiefwater. i've expected trashy and self-aware fun a-la draco trilogy only, you know, keeping in mind that we're not teenagers anymore, and got a tedious, navel-gazing, excruciatingly serious and taking itself seriously treatise on tortured rich boys have it so bad. pass!

most disappointing book/book you wished you loved more than you did?
sorscerer to the crown by zen cho. i've wanted to like it so much, and i've bounced off it pretty hard. tonal mismatch between the lighthearted and frothy heyer/woodehouse homage and the utter crapsackworldness threw me too much.

best series you discovered in 2014?
company of rogues, i guess? i haven't read many more new series this year. it's all very formulaic, as is proper, but there are many facets and angles, and i like the characters and absolutely believe in most of them maintaining strong, healthy relationships with each other, and i appreciate the net of family and friendship underlying all fourteen or so books.

favorite new author you discovered this year?
ganieva, although not, like, in a fannish sense. rose lerner, most definitely in a fannish one!

oldest book read?
three musketeers as always, a page-turning delight.

point of origin by melissa lingen, an absolutely charming short story about an adoptive family and mars. it worked very well as a short story, and i'd just as easy read a whole novel based on it.

longest book title?
toxic parents: overcoming their hurtful legacy and reclaiming your life by susan forwards.

shortest title?
stay, second in the aud torvingen series.

how many re-reads?
18; less than i've expected, actually.

any in translation?
a handful of therapy books, and musketeers, but nothing else.

book that most changed my perspective:
праздничная гора again, i think. it's weird being an outsider looking in and the native looking out at once.

favorite character:
aud torvingen, an ice-cold superwoman who found her salvation in her kindness and her hedonism and her grief and her valiance in reaching out. (also: best self-defence lessons of my life).

sun nee sunshine dancingstar (sasharia en garde), ex-hippie and ex-queen, a middle-aged mom who will kick asses and take names and organize peaceful marches any day when it's needed. what this genre needs is more badass middle-aged no-nonsense moms.

elayne kevarian, the stone-cold necromancer lawyer queen of my heart. i want to be her when i grow up. (and her book of the year had her young and trying so hard, and of, leave me to my sadness).

ash from true pretenses, because you'll pry my martyred, overbearing and overnoble suffering older brothers out of my cold dead hands.

ross, jenny and mia from hostage, the kids who could. i appreciate the canon poly relationship, and how different they all are, and how tightly they hold onto each other, and how well they learn. and also ross is a stone woobie to break my heart, okay.

penric and desdemona from penric's demon, the power couple of metaphysics, sarcasm and castle-burning as the best approach to solving life's problems. i want to read about twenty books of their adventures; can bujold stop digging vorkosigans further in and come back to chalion?

agniezska and kacia from uprooted, separate and especially apart, in a friendship that got literally tested by fire and poison, and survived.

aude from grass king's concubine, an originally naive and sheltered heiress looking for the magical place of her kingdom. the main delight of the book for me was how entirely out of fucks aude was, determined and headstrong and smart and unstoppable, and how far she went by tooth and nail alone.

most memorable character:
aud. in a completely different way, temoc from first last snow, a priest to the religion of human sacrifices who tried so hard and then tipped into the tragedy anyway. the great power and mystery of this character is that he does what he does, and becomes what he becomes, and it's awful and you still see his point and kinda sympathize and can't help but respect.

favorite quote:
i don't really pull quotes from the books, so just one this year, okay? i've read it on subway, a day later, and started crying immediately, of course.

And Locaha said: I am a part of you, as are all things. So I say to you, Give me the mortal world, and go and make your better one. I will rule here fairly. When a human dies, I will send them to be a dolphin until it is time for them to be born again. But when I find a creature who has striven, who has become more than the mud from which they were made, who has glorified this mean world by being a part of it, then I will open a door for them into your perfect world and they will no longer be creatures of time, for they will wear stars.

most inspirational in terms of own writing?
if i could actually write - as in, if i was a writer or pursued writing as a profession and not just a habit of telling the written equivalent of the campfire stories for warmth and companionship - i'd want to write like patricial mckillip.

how many you'd actually read again?
hard to say numerically, but i'd probably reread pratchett and francis many, many times again, and same goes for heyer and three musketeers. and probably true pretenses. too, when i'm down hard.

a book that you never want to read again:
elysium by jennifer brissett. i don't mind reading it once, but it's too much i'm-not-sci-fi-i'm-mainstream wankery, and the characters are paper-thin, which is not good when you're trying to sell me on universe-defying love as an underlying mechanism for everything.

book you recommended most to others in 2015?
праздничная гора, aud torvingen and uprooted. the last one is it in this weird space for me where it's not my favorite book - it's somewhere to the left of me, id-wise - but i was hella impressed and hella pleased, by the book itself and by the progress made by its author, and it was my pleasure to spread the world high and wide.

oh, and apparently this year i've triggered a great avalanche of dick francis reading on my flist, and this pleases me greatly.

the book series you read the most volumes of in 2015:
if we're talking separate books united by a theme or timeline, it would be company of rogues. if we're talking several consecutive books telling one story, then the old kingdom series for nix garth. i've enjoyed them a lot; i miss the times when ya fantasy was written in an adult key.

the genre you read the most in 2015:
fantasy, but less so than the last year.

your favorite "classic" you read in 2015:
three musketeers, duh. forever and always.

most surprising (in a good way) book of the year?
uprooted! clean, tight, beautifully plotted, wonderfully constructed, not an ounce of narrative flab, great worldbuilding, wonderful character voices. i honestly haven't expected novik to deliver that well, and she did.

the hardest book you read in 2015 (topic or writing style):
severe personality disorders: psychotherapeutic strategies: i love kernberg, but he could stand to simplify the text a bit. the material is there, but the stating is overloaded.

the funniest book you read in 2015:
mated to the meerkat by lia silver! a paranormal romance parody that's at once hilarious and stands as a perfectly sweet and lovely romance itself.

the saddest book you read in 2015:
the shepherd's crown, for obvious reasons. goodnight, sweet prince.

the shortest book you read in 2015:
probably points of origin, it being a separate short story.

the longest book that you read in 2015:
still three musketeers. i don't remember if it's false or not that dumas got paid per word?* in any case, the book is still impossible to put down for a second, so he earned each word's price.

*per line, [ profile] manonon tells me.

best book that was outside your comfort zone/a new genre for you?
hm. i've read pretty safely this year, so i'd say праздничная гора again.

most thrilling, unputdownable book of 2015?
let's say lisey's story, just because, you know. stephen king.

most beautifully written book in 2015?
mckillip wins this every year, including the years where i don't read her, just because. let's say alphabet of thorn.

book you most anticipated in 2015?
hostage, last first snow, shepherd's crown.

favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
several good ones this year! sabriel by garth nix had a great one; gladstone's craft sequence book covers own my soul; sasharia en garde had a really beautiful cover.

book that had the greatest impact on you this year?
existential psychotherapy by irving yalom, in a weird way. it's not a new thing - i've read it several times before and will re-read again and again - but he always wonderfully clears my head.

book you can't believe you waited till 2015 to finally read?
old kingdom books! it's been my ambition for a while, and i'm glad i finally did.

book that had a scene that left you reeling and dying to talk to someone about it?
- the ending of the blue place - i've paced around the flat several times, completely aghast, and needing to share.
- roland teatimes in magic shifts.
- kacia cleansing in uprooted.
- the dungeon sequence in hostage.
- the final scene in праздничная гора.
- that thing in shepherd's crown. you know which one.

one book you didn't read this year that will be your #1 priority in 2016?
i don't know about #1 priorities or anything, but i didn't get to read masked city, a sequel to genevieve cogman's talented and sparkling magical library steampunk series, and i hope to rectify it this year.

new book you are most anticipating for 2016?
new craft sequence book! about tara! give it to me right now.

january is starting well.

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